Chapter 9: Provisions for the Journey
The Buddha said:
Those who study the doctrine of the buddhas will do well to believe and observe all that is taught by them. It is like unto honey; it is sweet within, it is sweet without, it is sweet throughout; so is the Buddha’s teaching.
O monks, you must not walk on the way as the ox that is attached to a wheel. His body moves, but his heart is not willing. But when your hearts are in accord with the way, there is no need of troubling yourselves about your outward demeanor.
Those who practice the way might well follow the example of an ox that marches through the deep mire carrying a heavy load. He is tired, but his steady gaze, looking forward, will never relax until he comes out of the mire, and it is only then that he takes a respite. O monks, remember that passions and sins are more than the filthy mire, and that you can escape misery only by earnestly and steadily thinking of the way.
The seeker has to go alone on his pilgrimage. Otherwise is not possible; it is not in the nature of things. Truth is not something outside you, otherwise you could go in company. It is within you. Truth is not objective, so it cannot be collective. It is subjective. Truth is subjectivity, it is your innermost core. Only you, and only you, can penetrate it; nobody else can go with you. The path has to be traveled in tremendous aloneness. And a master knows it - that he is pushing you in a journey where you will be left alone - Buddha particularly is very much aware of it. He has not uttered a single word against it. He has never said, “I can lead you to the ultimate.” You will have to go alone. The tour is going to be absolutely unguided, with no maps, with no guide to show you the path.
Then of course you have to be prepared for it. You have to provide for all emergencies, all accidents on the way, all possibilities for your going astray. You have to carry provisions for the journey. Buddha has called these provisions parmitas; the word is beautiful. Parmita means: that which can lead you beyond; the provisions for the other shore. The journey is going to be alone. The moment you leave this shore you will be left alone in a great and wild ocean, and you will have to fight the ocean, and you will have to find the way absolutely on your own. No knowledge that you have gathered before is going to be of any help, because each person comes to truth in his own way. The perception of truth is absolutely unique and individual. No two persons have known truth in the same way, because no two persons are ever the same. They are different: their vision is different, their perception is different, their interpretation is different, their expression is different. So all that you have gathered about truth is not going to help you much. In fact it may hinder you, but it cannot help you. It can become an obstacle.
So Buddha says: Don’t carry knowledge. Then what does one have to carry with oneself? If the journey is going to be alone, then you have to create some qualities, parmitas, which can follow you like a shadow. These ten parmitas have to be understood very deeply.
The first parmita is dana: generosity, sharing. Ordinarily mind is a miser. It tries to hold, to possess. Mind is not generous. And if you go with this mind you will be lost - because a miser’s mind is a very closed mind. Miserliness is a sort of closing in: you are not open to the world, you don’t allow your windows and doors to bring more light from the outside, you don’t allow your windows to bring new breezes from the outside - because you are constantly afraid that something you are holding inside may escape.